Written by Kathy Fauble, Professional Education Services Director, and Liz Swanson, Assistant Director

During Sunday's brunch, we chatted about the significance of Mother’s Day and the history of the holiday. A quick Google search showed none of us knew as much as we thought! But it’s always good to learn something new, and we were all interested in the day's origins that stemmed from the ancient Greeks and Romans who celebrated the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. Since that time seemingly all cultures have set aside a special day to honor moms.

Motherhood can be a thankless job, but then, too, so can being leader in a rural hospital. The similarities between boss and mom don’t stop there.  Much of what makes mom so great are the same characteristics that make you a great boss.  Take a minute to think about what you do well as a mom (Dads—you share many of these characteristics, but you’ll get your shout-out on Father’s Day).  Moms are generally pretty good at listening, fairness, dependability, and understanding that each child is different. These are the same qualities we like our leaders to have and are also very similar to a leadership style called "Servant Leadership," which is the idea that leaders focus on serving the greater good, not the bottom line, and putting employee needs at the top of the hierarchy.  It’s no wonder studies have found women to be natural servant leaders.

Lead like a Mom

If you haven’t thought about leading like a mom, maybe you should.  Here are some things moms do well and are also part of the "Servant Leadership" ideal:

  • Be trustworthy. Developing trust is the #1 trait employees look for in a leader and a #1 trait of moms. You don’t follow someone you don’t trust.
  • Be helpful. Mom knew the importance of lending a helpful hand.  Be there for others, answer questions, and show an attitude of teamwork.
  • Show humility. Did mom ever take credit for that “A” on your science project or the homerun you hit? No, she gave credit where credit was due. Mom knew it wasn’t about her, but about your hard work.  Be humble with the people you lead.
  • Be caring. Excellent leaders care about the people they lead.
  • Listen. Who do you call when you need to talk it out? Mom, of course!  Be the leader who takes the call, who carefully listens, and helps others figure out the best way to handle a problem.
  • Be open to change. Mom's aren't perfect and neither are you. We mess up. We fail. We criticize.  Be open to learning from your mistakes and don't be afraid to change what doesn't work.

My Mom taught kindergarten for 30 years, and I’m thankful every day that I never had to lead a group of 20 five-year-olds. She was a great teacher and the kids loved her because she led from the heart, encouraging them to be their best and to be curious about everything around them.  Mom really does know best.

A fun final tidbit: It was a woman by the name of Anna Jarvis who campaigned tirelessly for six years to make Mother’s Day a national holiday in 1914. She ended up hating  the commercialism of the day and spent the rest of her life campaigning against it, refusing to even celebrate with her own family!